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ASA upholds adjudication on Wickes paint advert

The ASA has today confirmed that a complaint made by Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd against a March 2011 advertisement for Wickes paint, has been upheld.

The advert was shown on the Wickes website, in the national press and on television. The website and press adverts featured the tagline: "SMART VALUE - 8 OUT OF 10 PROFESSIONALS PREFER WICKES PAINT*”

In the press, the asterisk was linked to small print at the bottom of the page which stated "*150 painters and decorators surveyed using Wickes Brilliant White Emulsion and tested against the leading Brilliant White Vinyl Matt Emulsion Brand. For survey details go to [website address]".

On the website, the asterisk was linked to small print beneath the picture which stated "*Survey of 150 professional painters and decorators using Wickes Brilliant White Vinyl Matt Emulsion. Colour shown is Wickes Vinyl Emulsion Fondant, available in a Matt and Silk finish. When compared to the brand leader, 8 out of 10 professionals prefer the superior coverage and finish of Wickes paint. Try it for yourself and you'll understand why. Read on for the full details of our survey, from how we chose the professionals to the final research results".

The television commercial stated "When a job's got your name on it Wickes understand you need a paint that does the job as well as you do. When Wickes White Vinyl Matt emulsion was tested against the brand leader, 8 out of 10 professionals preferred its coverage and finish. Try it yourself and you'll understand why. It's got our name on it. Wickes. And to see the latest additions to our colour paint range pick up our new colour card in store today." Boxed text on screen text stated "Preferred by 8/10 professionals". White text below the box stated "150 painters and decorators surveyed. Tested against the leading White Vinyl Matt Emulsion brand" and "For survey details, go to [website address]". For most of the time this text appeared against a white background.

Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd believed it was clear that the adverts would be seen as referring to Dulux, and challenged whether the adverts were misleading because:

1) The claim that eight out of 10 professionals preferred Wickes paint suggested that the preference applied to the whole Wickes paint range when it applied to brilliant white vinyl matt emulsion only;

2) The claim "SMART VALUE" in ad (a) suggested Wickes's paint was better value than Dulux;

3) The on-screen text on the television advert was not legible because the text was white and, for much of the ad, was set against a white background; and

4) By referring to Wickes's colour paint range immediately after the claim that referred to Wickes's white vinyl matt emulsion, it suggested that the claim referred to Wickes's colour paint range also.

Full details, including Wickes’ response to each point can be seen by viewing the web page at the end of this article.

Source : InsightDIY Research Team and ASA

04 January 2012
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